Iranian Reformists Vow to Deliver on Promises

Published May 29th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Iran's reformist legislators said Sunday that they intend to live up to their pledges they made to voters who are anxious for greater social freedoms and economic stability, reported Associated Press (AP).  

"We were elected because we promised to pursue reforms. So, we are intent on delivering the promises we have made," legislator Soheila Jelowdarzadeh told AP.  

However, Jelowdarzadeh, who won a Tehran seat in February's legislative elections, conceded that reformists face an uphill road.  

"To meet popular demands, we need time to succeed. Opponents of reforms will continue to resist and therefore we should still expect political tension to continue in the future," she said.  

This is the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution that the legislature has slipped out of the control of hard-liners, who want no dilution of the clerical government's laws, many of them unpopular due to their restrictions on personal freedoms, the agency added.  

For some, the state of Iran's ailing economy is a more pressing matter than social freedoms.  

In a nation of 62 million, half of whom are under the age of 25, Iranians are struggling with more than 20 percent unemployment and high inflation, AP added.  

"I want a job. I need money to live. I expect the new Majlis to help create jobs for the unemployed," said Mahmoud Lotfi, a young man waiting with more than a hundred others for daily construction jobs at a Tehran square, a sight repeated in many cities across Iran.  

AP said that despite the victory of the reformists, who won about three-fourths of the 290 seats in the Majlis in the Feb 18th polls, their power struggle against the hard-liners is far from over.  

The Guardian Council, a supervisory body controlled by conservatives, must approve new legislation before it becomes a law.  

The hard-liners also control the judiciary, the broadcast network and the security forces, and their chiefs are appointed by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say in all matters, according to the agency - Albawaba.com 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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